- Associated Press - Thursday, November 6, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A West Virginia boarding school for troubled youths that was closed as part of an abuse investigation is being sold, a school official said Thursday.

Miracle Meadows School corporate president Kingsley Whitsett told The Associated Press that a small number of workers remain at the nonprofit private school in Salem to prepare for the sale.

“We’ve got to sell the whole place,” Whitsett said. “And we’ve got to go through everything, go through the inventory and get rid of things, etcetera. We’re preparing to put it on the market. We’ve already seen real estate people.”

Whitsett said the school is permanently closed.

Prosecutors in Harrison County charged teacher Timothy Arrington and school founder Susan Gayle Clark in August.

The school’s state-recognized education status was subsequently revoked and the state Department of Health and Human Resources, which handles child-abuse investigations through its Bureau for Children and Families, removed 19 students from the school.

DHHR spokeswoman Allison Adler said Thursday that she was unaware of the school’s planned sale.

Arrington faces child-abuse charges and Clark is accused of knowing about the alleged mistreatment of students by Arrington on three occasions since November 2013. Police say Arrington had choked and handcuffed a male student, left another in handcuffs overnight, and locked a third in a room and forced him to strip to his underwear.

Preliminary hearings are set for Clark on Nov. 17 and for Arrington on Dec. 11 in Harrison County Magistrate Court.

Clark declined comment on her case Thursday. Arrington didn’t have a listed telephone number. Messages left for their attorney weren’t returned.

“As a board, we considered what to do,” Whitsett said. “We’re not afraid to go ahead and go through the court case, but we’ve been informed it would be $100,000 to $200,000. We don’t have extra cash hardly at all at any time. So it’s very expensive to defend yourself.

“You have to close down the school because the kids are gone and there’s no income coming in. You have to let staff go. We’ve got a skeleton crew on board just trying to finish up things. But the board said enough’s enough.”

Opened in 1988, the school was affiliated with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The school’s website said it took in boys and girls ages 6 to 18 who “are experiencing difficulty relating in a positive way to family, school, church or community.”

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